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Voluntary Organisations: Standards

Volume 475: debated on Friday 9 May 2008

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (1) what steps the Office of the Third Sector has taken to monitor (a) the application of and (b) compliance with the code of practice on workforce matters designed to prevent the development of a two tier workforce in public service contracts outsourced to the third sector; (203317)

(2) what steps the Office of the Third Sector has taken to assess the effects of the codes of practice on workforce matters designed to prevent the development of a two-tier workforce in public service contracts outsourced to the third sector;

(3) whether the Third Sector Action Plan will be used to promote adherence to the Best Value Code of Practice on Workforce Matters and the Cabinet Office Code of Practice on Workforce Matters.

Public-sector organisations oversee the way in which service providers implement the code, where appropriate. If employees or trade unions feel that the code is not being applied correctly, they are invited in the first instance to alert the relevant public sector organisation. They are also supplied with contact details to seek advice in cases in which they consider that the public-sector organisation has failed to meet its responsibilities In addition, it is part of the ongoing work programme of the Public Services Forum to review the implementation of the code. This review will be undertaken in partnership by trade unions, the third and private sectors and Government.

Given these existing channels for concerns about the code to be raised and acted upon, the Office of the Third Sector has not taken steps to monitor application of, compliance with or the effectiveness of the code on workforce matters. “Partnership in Public Services”, the cross-Government public service action plan, includes 18 key actions to reduce the barriers to third-sector involvement in public service delivery, and does not include promotion of the code.